Two goals from the Portuguese striker Pedro Pauleta lifted FC Girondins de Bordeaux to an emphatic 3-0 win over FC Lorient in the French League Cup final on Saturday and an automatic place in next season's UEFA Cup.
In front of a near-capacity crowd of 77,551 at the Stade de France, Bordeaux were clinical in carving out their victory. They opened the scoring after only five minutes when Pauleta - the leading scorer in the French first division with 21 goals - netted after meeting a perfectly timed cross.
Midfielder Camel Meriem scored the second three minutes before half-time after Lorient goalkeeper Stephane le Garrec had palmed the ball into his path. Pauleta then volleyed the third in the 59th minute from the edge of the area. "To score a double in such a stadium is pure bliss," Pauleta said. "I hope I'll do it again for Portugal during the [FIFA] World Cup."
Bordeaux's captain, Christophe Dugarry, who had never before won a French domestic trophy, was thrilled to celebrate his team's success. "The last time I lifted a trophy was at the end of the 1998 World Cup," the 30-year-old said.
"I am very happy for myself, of course, but also for the team," said midfielder Vikash Dhorasoo, who won last season's League Cup with Olympique Lyonnais. "We were lucky to score early but it's what we wanted to do. We wanted to make the running so they wouldn't think they could win. And it worked."
Third time lucky
Bordeaux have appeared twice in the League Cup final since the competition was founded in 1995, losing to RC Strasbourg in 1997 and to Paris Saint-Germain FC in 1998 - both times on penalties.
Lorient, the bottom-placed side in Le Championnat, have another chance to end the season on a winning note when they meet SC Bastia in the French Cup final on 11 May.
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